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in. In the first place, they must perceive, that if this scheme of Mr. Benton be a judicious one, he is by no means the person to carry it through, inasmuch as he is decidedly odious at present, both to the Senate and country. It is a well attested fact, that he failed in every undertaking in which he engaged last winter, commencing with the Panama road project-embracing his silly and ridiculous demonstration against the coast survey policy, and ending with the Protocol. But the scheme in itself is purely ridiculous and absurd! A road a mile wide all the way from St. Louis to the Pacific! A road, the cost of which, upon Mr. Benton's plan, as will be in due season proved most amply, will be some two hundred and fifty or three hundred millions of dollars! A road, the annual expense of which, after it shall have been established, will be some five or six millions of dollars! And to the building of this road seventy-five per centum of the proceeds of the public lands in Oregon and California, and fifty per centum of the amount of the sales of all other public lands in the United States,' are to be set apart and pledged !' So that all reduction in the price of all the public lands in the United States is to be dispensed with, as a thing altogether impossible to be effected, in the face of this solemn pledging and setting apart of the proceeds of the land sales ! The graduation principle is no longer to be heard of! And this road is to run over high mountains, covered with eternal snow, which is oftentimes from twenty to forty feet deep! Besides these objections to Mr. Benton's project, his speech in support of it shows it 10 be the most enormous project of the kind ever heard of in other respects ; for, in this speech, he does not advocate this road alone, but he avows himself in favor of other such roads all over the country. In fact, he has been all his life contending for a general system of internal improvements, and this bill seems to be consistent therewith ; and, in truth; to make part of such system. I do not at all misstate his scheme, I am confident; for, in the course of his speech now referred to, he most formally introduced a paragraph from Gibbon, descriptive of the Roman highways under the empire, (God save the mark!) in which that writer, enumerating the four thousand cities belong. ing to the Roman empire, in Europe, Asia and Africa, goes on to say *All these cities were connected with each other, and with the capital, by the public highways, which, issuing from the forum of Rome, traversed Italy, pervaded the provinces, and were terminated only by the frontiers of the empire,' &c.; and Mr. Benton, referring to this Roman imperial road system, says: 'Such was the extent and solidity of the Roman roads; a single line of road, above 4000 Roman, and equal to 3740 English miles, and the four thousand cities of the empire all connected with roads of equal solidity besides; and presently, saying of all these wonderful Roman roads: 'I mention them for their magificence, their grandeur, and as presenting an example worthy of our imitation !' Surely, surely, our patriotic and judicious friends in Missouri cannot desire us to enlist in this enormous system at the present moment. A railroad from St. Louis to Santa Fe, devised by practical men, and brought forward under proper auspices, even some of the strict-construction democrats in Congress
, I doubt not, for high national reasons, could vote for cheerfully. A railroad from Memphis or Vicksburg, in the direction of the Gila river, over a sur face comparatively favorable, and running all the way through a mild and healthful climate, I know that many members of Congress suppose to be practicable and politic; and they would, in all probability, allow to St
Louis a branch railroad pursuing the general course of the Mississippi river. and becoming connected with the grand southwestern road at some eligible point-thus making the city of St. Louis a double terminus, and securing her all the commercial advantages which she desires. But I repeat, Mr. Benton's scheme will never pass Congress; and it is only destined to make its author immortally ridiculous.
“I think, then, that if his senatorial re-election depends upon this genuine humbug project, his chances for success are most gloomy indeed. Whether, though, he should be elected or defeated, I predict that the influence of this truly unscrupulous and mischievous personage will hereafter
grow less and less, continually, in this republic, until even his mercenary 1 and noisy advocates of the present hour will be ashamed even to whisper 1 his praise.
" Hoping that you will excuse this long letter, in consideration of the importance of the topics discussed in it, I bring it to a close by declaring i myself, most cordially and truly yours, &c. &c.,
“H. S. FOOTE."
The committee, at the request of Mr. Foote, also directed that the letter I of Mr. Foote to Henry A. Wise, Esq., should also be entered on the re
cord at length, which was done, and is as follows:
WASHINGTON, June 23, 1849. My Dear Sir : I wish I could say that I feel none of that solicitude ex. pressed in your letter to our mutual friend, Dr. G***, (which has been just shown to me,) in regard to the existing condition of our public concerns, and the consequences likely to arise from certain movements of one or two of our leading politicians, to which you have invited my attention. Never in my life, I assure you, have I felt more sorely oppressed with doubt and despondency, or considered the Union itself in more danger, than I do at this moment. Last year it seemed to be admitted by all discerning men, that our political sky was not a little gloomy and menacing; but now the very blackness of darkness appears to have spread like a funeral pall over the whole firmament. Had we been able to effect last winter some fair and fraternal compromise of the question of slavery in territories, as at one time was confidently expected, there would have been but little in the vista of the future to sadden the heart or alarm the fears of the patriot ; but the machinations of wicked and perverse men have triumphed over the straight-forward honesty and manly energy of others; and lo! hope has been transformed into dismay, and confusion has taken the place of order; just, too, as the season of danger and difficulty seemed drawing to a close! For one I shall ever look upon the defeat of the Walker ainendment of our last session as the most unfortunate event of our history; and I shall be indeed greatly disappointed if those who have been heard fiercely to exult over the success of their wicked dexterity, are not fated hereafter to lament the success of their efforts in sackcloth and ashes.
I confess myself wholly unable to divine how any man, wishing well to the administration of General Taylor, and really desirous that the ship of State, while under his guidance, should be favored with calm weather and tranquil seas, could wish, notwithstanding, to keep this alarming territorial
question open for future agitation and excitement; nor do I find it a whit less difficult to understand how a leading democratic Senator from one of the slave States of the confederacy, could reconcile it to his sense of duty to his constituents, deliberately to unite, at a moment so critical, with the worst and bitterest foes of our domestic southern institutions, in preventing the settlement of a question so full of perplexity and peril
, not to the South only, but to the Union also. And yet here is the vote in the Senate, on the 1st day of March last, upon the proposed amendment of Mr. Walker, after it had been agreed to in committee of the whole, and reported for final action :
Afirmative vole.—Messrs. Atchinson, Bell, Berrien, Butler, Calhoun, Davis of Mississippi, Dickinson, Dodge of Iowa, Downs, Fitzpatrick, Foote, Hunter, Johnson of Maryland, Johnson of Georgia, King, Mangum, Mason, Pearce, Rusk, Sturgeon, Turney, Underwood, Walker, Westcott, and Yulee.
Negative vote.—Messrs. Allen, Atherton, Baldwin, BENTON, Corwin, Davis of Massachusetts, Dix, Felch, Greene, Hamlin, Miller, Niles, Phelps, Spruance, Upham, and Wales.
That, after making up his mind to join in defeating the only plan of compromise which seemed practicable, Mr. Benton should follow up his ireachery to the South and the Union with further movements in the same direction, was to be expected from the man and his position ; but that even he should have presumed to turn, without provocation, upon those who had been struggling ardently for two sessions to save the Union from destruction, and the South from degredation and ruin, and accusa them of being traitors and disunionists, was surely not to be antici. pated. And yet this is precisely what has occurred; and, though the intelligent freemen of Missouri appear to take a correct view of his conduct, still the fact cannot be concealed that his defection has already imparted much confidence to our enemies in the North ; whilst our friends in that quarter of the Union have been proportionately discour. aged and paralyzed. It now appears manifest that the Wilmot Proviso will pass both Houses of Congress; and if he who saved his country's honor upon the field of Buena Vista, shall be found unwilling to rescue it again in the dread hour which is fast approaching, God only knows what horrid scenes we are to witness. Of one consolation though, the generous sons of the South can never be defrauded-no instance has been yet recorded on the page of authentic history, in which the faith. less soldier who abandoned his colors, and stole over to the enemy, amidst the heat and confusion of battle, ever afterward found himself rewarded according his hopes by those to whose triumph he had thus become auxiliary.
On reading the speech which Mr. Benton delivered at Jefferson city s few weeks since, a copy of which was sent to you a day or two ago from this place, you will not fail to be struck with the fact that whilst he has taken it upon himself, at the safe distance of a thousand miles or so from the objects of his assailment, to accuse all whose signatures were affixed to the “ Address of the Southern Delegates in Congress to their Constituents," of having been found aiding and abetting in a rank disunion plot, he has done you and your patriotic county of Accomac
the honor of arraying you in the very front rank of treason and rebellion.
I cannot doubt that you will agree with me in considering this last harangue of Mr. Benton as one of the most remarkable productions of this remarkable age. It would appear to have met with unusual favor in certain vicinages, and to have called forth lusty commendation from one or two editors, who have not been heretofore classed as his admirers. Indeed, he is said to have been actually nominated for the Presidency itself in several rather obscure abolition neighborhoods. And yet, for the life of me, I can see nothing either in the speech or the speaker which should provoke such admiration. It is evidently a long-meditated, laboriously-prepared, and diligently-memorized discourse, upon certain national topics of most surpassing interest; and yet do I feel that I can observe of it justly, and without the smallest exaggeration, that its feeble and confused reasonings, its tawdry grandiloquence in some places, its coarse scurrility in others, its awkward and clownish attempts at a sort of Ciceronic facetiousness, its unmannerly dogmatism, its nauseating egotism, and that infernal spirit of malignity which it breathes throughout, and which would have been far better suited to animate the outeries of some “ goblin damned,” or devil broke loose from hell, than to give grace and dignity to aught of human mould and temperament—would be sufficient to extinguish the glory and blast the fame of the most distinguished orator that either ancient or modern times have afforded. I will not weary you by dilating further upon a theine which could not but prove unsavory.
You have heard this 66 man of head and intellect” attempt to grapple with great questions of State, when he evidently seemed to suppose that a fit of genuine rhetorical inspiration had come upon him; and you will have no difficulty in appreciating the encomiums which have been so lavishly bestowed upon the august deliverer of Calhounias.
It is amusing enough to observe with what pertinacity Mr. Benton keeps up his pursuit of the favorite statesman of South Carolina. The issues which he makes in his Jefferson-city speech, are all made with Mr. Calhoun. His denunciations are all for him. He ridicules himhe maligns him, without stint or remorse. He mentions no other signer of the Southern Address by name at all. He glances, to be sure, furtively, and almost as if by pure accident, once or twice, at those who united with the draughtsman of the address in the act of subscribing it; but affects to recognise every mother's son of them as mere "followers” of a sort of idolized political leader. His reason for adopting this particular course is obvious enough. He imagined that there yet lurked in the public mind a remnant of that once prevalent prejudice against Mr. Calhoun as the expounder of nullification ; and supposed that if he could manage to connect our movement last winter with the noted measures of State resistance adopted by South Carolina a few years since, his triumph in the contest which he has sought would be quite an easy one. Besides, he had but little right to expect that Mr. Cal. houn would come into the arena at all with such an antagonist as him. self, as he is well known very seldom indeed to notice anything which chances to fall from Mr. Benton in the Senate, and to cherish for him only a sentiment of immeasurable contempt. By cautiously avoiding any special allusion to other signers of the address, he expected to be able to assail them thus indirectly, without affording them a pretext for retaliating his hostility. I regret to feel compelled to disappoint this anticipation of impunity. Representing, as I have the honor in part to do, a valiant, a patriotic, and Union-loving constituency-a constituency who, upon all questions which involve the honor of the nation, or their own domestic security, are united to a man—a constituency firm, discreet, enlightened ; who
-Their duties know,
Prevent the long-aimed blow,
acting by the authority of such a constituency, in a high place, I dare not prove recreant before their enemies, or patiently permit my stand. ing and good faith as a trusted functionary to be called in question by any inflated and presumptious demagogue that has ever yet cursed the Republic with his presence.
I respect Mr. Calhoun very highly, and believe that few better, purer, and more patriotic men have ever lived on earth ; but whilst I am not ashamed to acknowledge my high reverence for his mind and character, I am not afraid of being regarded by any man who knows me as his obsequious follower. A few days will determine whether he who has been set forth as our leader, may not, in spite of his known aversion to controversial strife, and the feeble state of his physical health, prompted by the peculiar perils of the hour, a deep and swelling sense of long. accumulating wrongs, and this last vandalic outrage upon his feelings and character, snatch the sword of vengeance from the scabbard where it reposes, and wielt it with a giant's strength for the destruction of such monsters as have seldom appeared in the world since the old days of Mythical renown
Perrupit Acheronta Herculeus labor,
until he shall consider his assailants worthy of death at his own hands, it would ill-become one wholly uncommissioned for the purpose, to presume to lift lance in his defence. I shall confine myself to points which involve alike the honor of all who subscribed the Southern Address. What are the circumstances connected with the origin of this much-censured document? They are easily stated, and as easily comprehended. Let it be borne in mind that when the meeting or convention of the southern members of Congress was held in the capitol last winter, various aggressions of a most serious character had from time to time been committed upon the peculiar institutions of the South graphic delineation of which will be found in the address itself. These aggressions must have been most serious and alarming, as all will admit that the outrages perpetrated within a few years past have been grosser and more vital than any heretofore complained of; and since it is a fact
, also, that so early as the year 1830, Mr. Benton himself, who now has